Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What I'm Listening To: Nico

Nico - The Marble Index and Desertshore

After lordknowshowmany listens of The Dirty Projectors' latest, the fantastic Bitte Orca, I decided to do a little deep-digging and try on some Nico. (Check out the Projectors' cut "Two Doves" and you'll get an idea why - the track sounds like it could've been pulled right off of Nico's Chelsea Girls album).

For the longest time, I thought after Velvet Underground and Nico (or Andy Warhol if you prefer... whatever, the one with the fucking banana-penis) and Chelsea Girls, there really wasn't much more to hear of Nico. Apparently, not so.

Now, I know most people are a hard sell on Nico's voice. It's not pretty in the traditional sense, but it's a strong voice. Very European but not in the way Sandy Denny or Vashti Bunyan sounded. For all her folk leanings, Nico never sounded like a folk singer. She was something else.

And a large part of that something else was the work of John Cale, the VU (and then, ex-VU) musical mastermind producing and arranging all the avant-garde compositions. When doing a bit of web-scouring, I came across one Amazon customer's opinion on Marble Index, a comment which after less than 24 hours with the album, I profoundly disagree with.

He (or she, I can't remember nor do I wish to accidentally reveal any sort of deep-seeded gender bias one way or the other) wrote something to the effect of, you may never listen to this album more than once, but it's more it that once.

At face value - yeah, better off to hear it once than to never hear it at all. But both albums (especially Marble Index) are extremely textured, complex works. In other words, they beg repeating.

So, yeah. That's what I'm listening to.

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